One of the richest football clubs in the world came to one of the richest cities in the world.
And they would deliver a record-equalling third title for their worldwide fanbase, thus retaining their status as FIFA Club World Cup Champions.
Real Madrid – FIFA Club World Cup Champions
The Galacticos of Madrid were made to feel at home with plenty of local support in Abu Dhabi, in what was a very significant match for coach Zinedine Zidane. He knew they faced a tough UEFA Champions League draw against PSG. As well as this, they are a large deficit behind Barcelona in La Liga. So securing another piece of silverware in 2017 was vital. His team would produce that in commanding fashion.
After struggling to overcome the local United Arab Emirates team, Al Jazira, in the semi-final Zidane brought in Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Toni Kroos. But it was the newly crowned Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo who scored the winner. He had some earlier attempts including pumping a free kick just over the bar, but from a similar chance, he shot through the Gremio wall on 53 minutes to break the deadlock. The face that had sold all those shirts, and rehearsed all those free kicks, had delivered.
It was a totally dominant performance by Los Blancos. They were often prompted by the midfield artistry of Isco and player of the tournament Luka Modric with the odd Marcelo cameo. They were nearly always in control. The well-supported Brazilians, with many fans no doubt riveted back home, lacked the attacking qualities likely to trouble Madrid. They mustered just one shot and none on target during the ninety minutes. So the Bernabeu trophy cabinet would have to accommodate another piece of silverware and Real Madrid had captured many more fans in the region.